Angolan President to step down after 38 years of corruption and nepotism

angolaJosé Eduardo dos Santos (pictured) is to step down after the general election in Angola, as 9 million voters head to the ballot box on Wednesday to elect a new president.

The battle for power is between the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the political party that has been in power under dos Santos for more than 40 years, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) which has been kept in opposition for over 50 years.

The MPLA is expected to win, but after 38 years of stealing from the country, José Eduardo dos Santos is in poor health and not seeking re-election.

Since 1979, the kleptocrat has held sway over an administration marked by extreme corruption and nepotism and leaves a country in deep recession caused by the fall in international oil prices which has switched off the tap.

Three years ago, Angola's revenue from oil was $60 billion, last year it was $27 billion with public services such as healthcare now close to non-existent.

The next president is likely to be the 63-year-old João Lourenço, the current defence minister who is expected to beat the Marxist, Isaías Samakuva from Unita.

Despite the dangers inherent in continuing under the MPLA, the fact that dos Santos no longer will be its president is cause for celebration despite a recent poll reporting that nearly 90% of respondents said the MPLA leadership "acts in its own interests, and not in the interests of the State or of the Angolan people."

José Eduardo Dos Santos is ill, but can expect to continue his billionaire lifestyle, funded by a business empire built on money diverted from State oil and diamond revenues and laundered over the years through investments inside and outside the country.

The Angolan president long stands accused of pocketing vast sums with $32 billion known to be missing from Angola's national accounts in the decade to 2012, much of it ending up invested in Portugal using his daughter as cover.

In 2015, Forbes commented - "Isabel dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola's long-time president and, by virtue of her investments in Portugal and Angola, is Africa's richest woman. Though her representatives deny that her holdings have any connection with her father, Forbes research found that her father, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has transferred stakes in several Angolan companies to her.

Isabel dos Santos's assets in Angola include 25% of Unitel, the country's largest mobile phone network, and a stake in a bank, Banco BIC.

In Portugal she owns a 7% chunk of oil and gas firm Galp Energia, a big part of Banco BPI, controls NOS and in 2015, spent more than $200 million to buy a stake in Portugal’s Efacec Power Solutions.

Thankfully, Isabel dos Santos seem too busy in her business life to get involved in domestic politics so the break with the dos Santos name at the top table of Angolan politics soon will be achieved but whether the blatant theft of Angola's riches will continue under João Lourenço, remains to be seen. 

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